We all know the financial impact terrorism can have on businesses, particularly those in the travel industry, but what about the psychological effects on business travellers?
Leisure travellers may not worry about being judged for cancelling a trip, but do business travellers have more concerns?
Corporate travel website SKIFT reported that U.S. business travellers saw terrorism as their most important concern, and as far back as May 2016, a study by the US-based Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) reported that: “More than two-thirds of business travellers believe travelling to areas perceived as ‘unsafe’ has a psychological effect on them or their families.”
In December 2017, Strategic Risk Europe provided similar insights, noting that an Ipsos Mori poll of business leaders, “Reveals that two in three think travel has gotten more dangerous.”
“Security threats and natural disasters were the leading drivers of changes to travel plans, cited by 58% and 43% of respondents respectively, according to the study, which was carried out in collaboration with security advisories International SOS and Control Risks.”
Show no fear?
We Brits like to think we’re made of sterner stuff, but recent events have made it clear that we aren’t immune to local or international effects of terrorism. In the spirit of being prepared, not scared, we think these statistics from the ACTE report are an important consideration:
- When asked: ‘Is terrorism and unrest leading to changing duty-of-care concerns in your organization?’ – 44 per cent of travellers and 51 per cent of travel professionals said their organisations have made duty-of-care changes.
- 23 per cent of travellers did not know the answer, which may indicate a need for better communication.
- 67 per cent of travellers said that there is a psychological effect on either them or their families when travelling to a region where they may not feel safe.
- 31 per cent of business travellers polled said they worry that showing reluctance to travel could hurt their career, while 6 per cent said they would not feel comfortable expressing their concerns to upper management.
Do your employees have peace of mind when they travel?
Here in the UK, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CNPI) is just one of the organisations that lists terrorism as a “major threat” to businesses. This includes local businesses directly affected, such as bars and restaurants in 2017’s Borough Market attack, as well as businesses that trade in foreign countries affected by terrorism, and companies sending team members on business trips.
Whether there’s one representative travelling for a meeting or 100 attending a conference, do those employees have comprehensive cover – and do they know exactly what that cover entails? Are they – or you – making any assumptions about the cover that they have?
Travel insurance – reading the fine print
Even if a business has travel insurance in place for all of its employees, there are often limitations or exclusions on cases of terrorism. This is by no means limited to business travel – it’s a common exclusion in all sorts of policies – and it’s one that can cost your business a lot of money.
If you have 5 delegates preparing to travel to a conference, and there’s an attack nearby, would you still want them to attend? And would they still feel comfortable going? They don’t want to cost the business money, after all…
With a Safe Journey policy, disinclination to travel would be covered (up to £2000 per person, so that’s up to £10,000 saved for the business if all 5 need to cancel) if the act of terrorism was within a 40-mile radius of their destination, up to 6 weeks before departure.*
That applies for local travel too, so conferences or events at the Manchester Arena, for example, would have been covered when that attack took place.
If you want employees to feel valued, taking steps to protect their safety when they travel can make a world of difference.
Make sure they’re aware of the cover that’s available, and of any actions they need to take if they are affected by terrorism when they travel. This can include contacting the 24/7 emergency number on their policy, keeping a copy of that policy with them at all times, and/or holding onto all receipts for purchases necessary during a travel delay.
This can be done in a few simple ways that build employee confidence and can even boost your business’s reputation:
- Publish a reminder of travel cover provided to business travellers in your next newsletter
- Provide employees with a checklist of policies, actions to take, etc. before they depart
- Invite comments and suggestions (through your travel organiser or HR department)
- Provide regular updates about safety in common destinations, and guidelines for emergency situations e.g. “Run, Hide, Tell”
Does your business have full cover for all business travel? Get a simple, no-obligation quote for individuals and small groups here, or contact us to discuss Safe Journey cover plans for a larger team.
*This is a summary of cancellation cover only – for full details of this and other cover provided by every Safe Journey policy, as well as terms, conditions and exclusions, read our Policy Wording.